Human fossils from the Flood and ancient climate patterns
Published: 12 August 2012 (GMT+10)
Should we expect any such fossils?
AA Snelling’s article “Where are all the human fossils?” refers.
Relating to possible destruction of human remains, Snelling mentions several highly destructive factors which would be found in the global Flood. These are difficult to deny, and in fact they are what one would expect.
My question, then, is this: how can we argue on the one hand for a destructive Flood, and on the other hand, appeal to the same Flood to preserve imprints left in soft sediments (such as pawprints)?
The preservation of vertebrate animals would be a hit-and-miss affair in a highly turbulent Flood, but still plausible. In the light of the forces involved, however, it seems difficult to imagine how animal prints, water ripples, etc., would remain preserved at all.
Is there a model for any of this, and/or is work proceeding or being contemplated on such a model? Or are we in a position where we allow rapid burial to preserve prints in great detail one moment, but with animals and humans being destroyed entirely by turbulence in the next moment? In other words, is the evidence fitting into a constantly-updated model, or is the evidence being explained away? If we’re alternately appealing to opposing mechanisms, sans model, just to make the evidence fit in, isn’t that rather close to what the evolutionists are doing?
Thanks for your attention, and for all the great resources on your site! May God bless your ministry.
CMI’s Dr Emil Silvestru replies:
Thank you for your inquiry. This is a recurrent topic for our ministry and one that is very pertinent. Dr. Snelling’s answer is providing a good general framework for solving this puzzle. I would add to it the geographical distribution of antediluvian human population as well as its size. It seems quite obvious by the analysis of the first 6 chapters of Genesis that pre-Flood the sea was not really part of regular human habitat. In fact the word ‘sea’ appears only twice up to chapter 9. So I believe it is reasonable to assume that most antediluvian human habitation was rather far from the sea/ocean. As for the antediluvian global population, using the estimates of growth between the Flood and the Resurrection of Christ (from 8 to about 300 million see Where are all the people?) from the creation of Adam and Eve the population doubled about 17 times, which means the population was much smaller than in AD 1. The Bible also suggests that the population was concentrated in urban areas at that time (unlike the evolutionary model of ancient societies). It is therefore reasonable to assume that—as the Flood waters advanced—most of the population massed together onto the highest elevations and were eventually swept by violent water flow or simply drowned once no more land was available.
Bloating and floating and decay and scavengers would take care of the rest. It is significant that there have been no human skeletons found at any shipwreck older than about 50 years (sea water dissolves bones).
Fossilization only occurs if rapid burial encases creatures in thick-enough unbound sediment and only where and when mineralizing solutions regularly filter through the sediment.
Let me use a proxy for this: in North America there are no traces of sauropods (both skeletal remains and ichnites) roughly north of the US/Canada border whilst theropods and hadrosaurs are found all the way to the Arctic. Since it is unlikely this had to do with some ancient border regulations, it is reasonable to assume that something physical prevented sauropods from reaching that territory. How about the incoming waters of the Flood and the evidently lower mobility of sauropods? Of course this also suggests that dinosaurs did not rule the territory that became North America for over 100 million years.
With all this in mind, my impression is that we are not necessarily chasing our own tail (to summarize your well-put argument). Yet I am fully aware we are still invoking some rather exceptional circumstances to explain the absence of human fossils but frankly, not more exceptional than some of the evolutionary explaining-away of ‘offset’ fossils. As Dr. Snelling pointed out, the Flood was God’s punishing action aimed to annihilate sinful humanity. So maybe it was part of his plan to prevent the fossilization of antediluvian sinners!
At this point I’d like to suggest that if ever human skeletons will be found in say, dinosaur fossil-bearing layers, evolutionists would rather attribute them to some time travel went wrong than accept the reality of Noah’s Flood.
I hope this helps a bit. Please do not hesitate to write again if there is anything else I can help with.
Emil Silvestru, PhD (geology)
Climate patterns and natural history
Anthony W. from Australia asks how climate researchers were supposedly able to graph CO2 levels over the last 400,000 years. CMI’s Dr Tas Walker answers:
Hi, I’m writing in regards to the ‘science’ of determining weather/climate patterns in the ‘pre-historic’ past.
At my church recently we had a seminar on climate change and the church’s reaction to this. It was heavily inferred that we are contributing heavily to climate change.
They did however display a graph (which I can email though if provided with an address) which graphed atmospheric CO2 levels and also average temps over the last 400,000 years. The graph showed that temps followed fairly closely changes in CO2 levels, this seemed to be cyclic, repeating every 100,000 years. The graph apparently appears in the Stern Review and Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.
Now obviously a well informed creationist knows that yes, the climate does oscillate however the time scale is much shorter. My question is how would the compilers of the graph have obtained the data relating to CO2 levels and temps? Would it have been from ice-core analysis?
Thanks and regards, Anthony.
CMI’s Dr Tas Walker responds,
Obviously no one measured the CO2 levels or global temperatures over that period. Ice cores are one way that information is derived. Tree rings are another. Corals another. Sometimes little fluid inclusions in minerals are analysed. There are probably many other methods that are used. But the results all depend on assumptions that are made and these are obviously long-age assumptions.
For periods up to about 3,500 to 4,000 years ago the time scale is probably OK but the interpreted CO2 and global temp would be quite rubbery. For periods older than that the timescale is incorrect because they are ignoring the effects of the global Flood and the post-Flood Ice Age immediately after. So the period which they quote as from 3,500 years to 100,000 years would likely in real time be from 3,500 years to around 4,000 years—a period of some 500 years or less. The variations they quote likely represent variations in local short-term storm events and similar. Or they could even be an artefact from assembling a liner sequence of tree rings from logs that were actually contemporaneous.
You would need to do some digging on the internet to find how the data for that particular graph was developed, the assumptions that went into it, the validity of the results and the time period for which it actually applies.
All the best,
Hi Erik W! Thanks for your thoughtful point.
Please note the post-flood insight provided by God in Genesis 9:2 about the pre-flood situation, "The fear of you and the dread of you **shall be** upon... all the fish of the sea."
In this verse, God seems to clearly signal that prior to the Flood, the animal creatures of the sea (along with all other types of animals) had not yet experienced fear with respect to humans. It is hard to understand this lack of fear unless all of pre-Flood humanity had not fished / eaten seafood.
Even though "sinful mankind doesn't always follow God's law" and often violates divine prohitibitions--as you point out--in this particular case, amazingly, it does seem that pre-flood humanity hadn't transgressed the Genesis-1 prohibition against eating animal life. This anomaly is the basis for my confidence in my first point.
I just want to comment on Richard L.'s first point about why pre-flood humans wouldn't have lived near water. While it may be the case that God had indeed forbidden shellfish in the antediluvian world, as He did with the Israelites later, this doesn't necessarily lead to the conclusion that all of humanity followed the commandment. Perhaps only the believing part of humanity, but indications are that that comprised only Noah, by the time the Flood came. I might be mistaken, but the example of the Gadarene demons entering the herd of pigs indicates that some Jews were violating the ritual law to not eat pig meat (after all, why herd pigs if you're not going to eat them?).
This only underscores the fact that sinful mankind doesn't always follow God's law. In short, I don't think we can realistically make the assumption that no animal flesh or shellfish was consumed pre-Flood, even though God commanded it, because man's sinful nature would certainly have allowed them to violate those prohibitions. And the world just prior to the Flood was nothing if not sinful, as we all know.
Just my two cents. :)
Re. Dr. Silvestru's "... assume that most antediluvian human habitation was rather far from the sea/ocean."
At least three other factors support the reasonableness of that assumption:
1. Permission for the eating of sealife is not given until after the Flood (Genesis 9:2). A major reason for human habitation along coastlines is the fishing industry. That incentive did not exist pre-Flood.
2. According to creationist scientists, evidence is strong for the existence of of one pre-flood supercontinent. Another incentive for coastal habitation for humans is transportation to other continents. If only one supercontinent existed pre-flood, then another incentive for pre-Flood human coastal habitation disappears.
3. From Genesis 2 data, we know that Eden was considerably up-country. (The river that flowed out of Eden split into 4 headwaters. The first two of the named resultant rivers flowed **throughout** different named countries/regions. No mention is made of the rivers re-merging.) The evidence points to the rivers involving at least three drainage basins (allowing for the pre-flood Tigris and Euphrates to likewise exist within one drainage basin.) The only scenario in which such seems possible is if Eden was on or near a contintental divide. Up-country indeed! Humanity had lots of roomm to expand and populate land away from centraly located Eden--and still not come near coastal plains.
May this help.
It's important to remember that even if evolutionists are right and we don't have a good explanation for why humans aren't found in say, the Cambrian, or whatever, that would not mean evolution was true. Let's look at it in the form of a simple analogy;
Imagine we found a car in a field, and we had two conclusions, one conclusion was that it assembled itself over millions of years and the other explanation was that it was designed. But let's pretend the design proponents could not give a good explanation of why it was designed. Does it therefore follow that the car assembled itself?
As you can see, the probability of the car assembling itself is still so improbable as to be, for want of a better word, impossible.
That there are small problems for the creation model, in no way endorses the evolution model, with it's inordinately larger problems. If we look at it according to probability, there is pretty much ZERO chance that life somehow formed itself and then over time became trees and hairy knees, compared to the biblical answer, which answers for the mind-boggling designs in nature.
Even if our models were very bad, that would still not remove the evidence God has provided in His creation, that displays a mind so complex and wise, as to be unsearchabley and unfathomably great. The diveristy of lifeforms is not just remarkable, but the designs are almost limitless. For every problem we as humans can solve, it seems God can solve it in another million different ways. To study this evidence is therefore of immense importance, over the falsehood of evolution, which explains away such glaringly obvious fact.
Both violent destruction and gentle burial make sense to me. The beginning of the Flood should destructively churn up a lot of sediment which would mix into the water. Some fleeing animals would escape this, and water would later more slowly approach, prior to the rain washing the prints away. Then the sediments could slowly settle in the water and bury the tracks. A lot of sediment would be mixed into the water, I'd think, so settling could produce thick layers atop the prints. Not a scientist, but that's been my understanding. :)
I was just reading the article titled Human fossils from the Flood and ancient climate patterns. It was mentioned that sea water dissolves bones.
Could you please illistrate how this would happen?
Good to hear from you. If you do a Google search on "seawater disolves bones" you will find articles that discuss the issue. :-)